Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Rev Cardiol. 2019 Mar;16(3):180-196. doi: 10.1038/s41569-018-0106-9.

The role of B cells in atherosclerosis.

Author information

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria.
INSERM U970, Paris Cardiovascular Research Center, Paris, France.
Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Paris, France.


The cardiovascular system is subject to hyperlipidaemic, inflammatory, and pro-oxidant stressors. Over time, these factors drive prevalent chronic diseases, of which atherosclerosis is most prominent and accounts for the majority of deaths globally. Antibody-producing B cells perform a unique role in responses to stress, injury, and infection. The power, inducibility, and adaptability of the antibody repertoire require an equally complex range of control measures. Defects and chronic perturbations in these checkpoints lead to inappropriate antibody responses, which might have important roles in shaping the development and outcome of atherosclerotic disease. A unique aspect related to atherosclerosis is the prominent role of natural antibodies, specifically those binding to the oxidized epitopes that are abundant on modified lipoproteins and cellular debris. B cells control cellular immune responses through cell-cell contact, antigen presentation, and cytokine production, and thereby participate in systemic and local immune responses in atherosclerotic arteries. To date, both proatherogenic and antiatherogenic properties have been assigned to B cells, depending on subsets and how they are functionally targeted. For these reasons, a deeper understanding of how B cells influence atherosclerotic plaque development is being pursued with the hope of providing novel B cell-targeted interventions to prevent inflammation-driven cardiovascular events.


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center